ASU grad promotes healthy relationships and sexual violence prevention


December 27, 2019

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2019 commencement.

Phoenix native Zoe Isaac graduated with her degree in political science and a minor in justice studies this month, but she found plenty of passions outside the classroom in her time at Arizona State University.   ASU grad Zoe Isaac ASU grad Zoe Isaac Download Full Image

Isaac made a difference on campus by working with ASU Sexual Violence Prevention as a peer health educator, where she gave presentations on topics like healthy relationships, sexual violence and survivor support. 

Isaac also helped run the Sorority Sexual Violence Prevention and Leadership program, which she described as “by far one of the most fulfilling experiences I had at ASU.”

Isaac said that she is inspired to work on this issue because of how universally important and vital relationships are. 

“Relationships are the one thing we all have in common, and it’s the one thing we all have to figure out how to do. But we’re not really prepared or educated on how to do it,” she said. “Navigating friendships, dating and sex are such huge parts of the college experience, and I think working as a peer health educator was an opportunity for my own education as well.”

Isaac was also involved with BridgeASU, a club on campus committed to civil discourse and ideological diversity. Heading into the world after college, the only thing Isaac knows for sure is that her path probably won’t be linear. 

“No matter the path, I just want to make sure the work I do always feels meaningful. I sometimes get bogged down thinking about whether or not the changes I’m making are big enough. Do I tackle the community, the state, the world?” she said.

“I’ve sort of settled on a compromise with myself: I just want to be of service. I want to feel useful in anything I do, no matter how large or small the impact. I have no guesses of what long-term looks like, but I can’t wait to see.”

Isaac spoke with ASU Now about her college experience, what the future looks like for her and what advice she would give to current students. 

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: I declared my political science major coming into college on a whim. I loved to read and write and had recently become engaged in politics. During my first semester, I noticed I was talking about my classes outside of my classes all the time. My classroom environments were engaging, and the material felt important. I felt like I was learning with real purpose, so I knew I was where I was supposed to be. 

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective? 

A: I think I’ve been lucky enough to have my perspective changed constantly throughout college. I often left classes more unsure about my opinion or a perspective I previously had, which I always consider a win.

I think college has allowed me to be comfortable living in the “gray” zones. I’ll never forget my intro to justice studies class with Professor Rashad Shabazz; it quite literally blew my mind. I left every class questioning what I really knew about myself and the world around me. It created a curiosity and open mindedness that prepared me to dive deeper academically and personally. 

Q: Why did you choose ASU? 

A: I chose ASU because it was nearby and made my college experience affordable. In all honesty, coming to ASU didn’t feel like much of a choice in the beginning. I had my sights set on getting far away from Arizona and going to a small school. Instead I ended up 20 minutes from home at one of the largest universities in the country. And now, three and a half years later, I’m so happy I did. I don’t believe everything happens for a reason, but I can think of so many reasons I was supposed to end up here. 

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU? 

A: I’ve always felt so proud to be a part of a political science department that has so many incredible female professors I’ve been able to learn from, like Professor Gina Woodall and Professor Tara Lennon. I’ve been really lucky to be surrounded by so many role models who are constantly achieving and contributing to the communities around them. An invaluable lesson many of my professors throughout my college career stressed was the importance of learning for the sake of learning rather than receiving a grade. This always served as an important reminder of why I was in the classroom. 

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school? 

A: I think the most important opportunity college provides is the chance to learn how to build your own community. I think that’s a skill that we’ll carry with us into every new phase and transition of our lives, so it’s important to take advantage of that learning opportunity now. 

Adulthood is weird, and finding a community to experience and navigate all that weirdness with is what makes it manageable. And building community especially at a big school like ASU can be hard. It took me a lot more time than anyone ever told me it would, so be patient with yourself. 

Looking back on my college career, I can pinpoint singular moments that built my community and changed the course of my college experience for the better. All of those moments were when I invited people in or invited myself in. 

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life? 

A: It’s not the most unique, but I love the MU (Memorial Union) Starbucks patio. I love when people are playing music on the stage nearby, and I always love knowing there is a good chance I’m going to run into someone I know. Many of the best impromptu coffee and study dates happen there. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation? 

A: I wish I had a clear answer to this! Honestly, I’m not sure yet. I want to continue my work with BridgeUSA as well as sexual violence prevention and curricula. I’ve been lucky enough to find a couple of issues that I can’t stop talking about, so I don’t plan on stopping. 

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle? 

A: Well, the planet seems like an obvious answer. Without tackling climate change, the other issues I care about won’t really have the time or chance to get solved.  

Written by Austin Davis, Sun Devil Storyteller

Hannah Moulton Belec

Marketing content specialist, Educational Outreach and Student Services

480-965-4255

ASU English lit grad is ready to make her mark on the world


December 27, 2019

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for fall 2019 commencement.

As the saying goes, you must walk before you can run, and that’s exactly what Julia Fields did. Before she set out to make her mark on the world, she first made her mark on her residence hall. Fields, who graduated this month with her degree in English literature, was a community assistant on Arizona State University's Tempe campus for most of her Sun Devil experience. ASU grad Julia Fields ASU grad Julia Fields Download Full Image

“My favorite part about the CA job was learning about all my residents’ different backgrounds and stories and what we could learn from each other,” she said.

As a member of the English department’s Committee of Altruistic Research and Experiences (CARE) not only does Fields have experience programming events for residential students but also for the larger communities that surround ASU.

Though Fields is unsure how she will further her impact now that she’s graduated, she is prepared to move in whatever direction life leads her.  

“I will write, work and figure out how I want to make my mark in this world, be it a career, through additional education or potentially working within the humanities,” she said.

As she prepared to close the chapter on her undergraduate life, Fields spoke with ASU Now about her journey to and through Arizona State University.

Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: It was at my orientation to come to ASU during my senior year of high school that I had my "aha" moment. 

I had applied to ASU as a theatre major, but when it came time to make my schedule I had cold feet. I thought about the other classes that brought me joy in high school and realized I had a passion for English that I had always been apprehensive to share. 

I decided to take a leap of faith and switch my major before the first day of classes had even begun. I didn’t know then the journey that was beginning or the passion I would find for a language I thought I had known my whole life.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I was selected for the ASU Leadership Scholarship Program, and that changed everything for me. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to find a group where I felt like I belonged or was a part of something larger than myself and before I knew it, I had that before the first semester was even over.

Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you, that changed your perspective?

A: While at ASU I learned that everything and everyone has something to teach you, but you get to decide if you are willing to listen.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: I had numerous professors teach me some of the most valuable lessons, but perhaps my most impactful lesson came from Dr. Maureen Goggin. She taught me that I have a place in higher education, even when I have doubts about myself or my capabilities —  that I get to define what I am capable of.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: Brene Brown said, “So be afraid, but do it anyway.” And this has completely changed my way of thinking. I would say to those still in school that it is OK to be afraid, to be fearful of the future, of your potential, of failing the test, but you can never let any of those fears be reasons not to try. 

Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?

A: My favorite spot on campus over the years has been McClintock Hall. I lived there my first year as well as my third year as a student staff member, and it has grown a sense of home for me. I feel like I had some of my largest periods of growth and had my views of what it means to be a part of the community as well as a leader challenged and molded.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?

A: I think there are many issues that could be tackled with $40 million, but I would start with food and water inequity around the world and other large-scale environmental issues.

Written by Alexis Young, Sun Devil Storyteller

Hannah Moulton Belec

Marketing content specialist, Educational Outreach and Student Services

480-965-4255